A fast-finishing win in the Vain Stakes at Caulfield has set the platform for what could be an exciting spring for unbeaten colt Jukebox.
The Ciaron Maher-trained Jukebox won his two starts as a juvenile before being scratched by stewards on the eve of the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes in February because of a foot issue.
The three-year-old resumed for his first start since in Saturday’s Group Three Vain Stakes and the colt lifted late in the 1100m race to chase down the promising Plutocracy to win by a half neck.
Poseidon’s Pool ($21) was another 1-1/4 lengths away third.
“He had a good long break and he’s come back really well,” Maher said.
“He’s had a very smooth campaign.
“You love to see a three-year-old colt resume like that. He’s very exciting.”
Maher pinpointed the Group Two Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington as the likely next start for Jukebox on September 16 and said there were a lot of spring options for him.
“He’s certainly kicked off in great style,” Maher said.
Plutocracy ($18) settled just off leader Kobayashi before moving up on his outside from the 600m.
He was in front at the 300m and gave a strong kick to be two lengths clear of $3 favourite Jukebox inside the 200m before Jukebox warmed to the task.
Craig Williams admitted to some concerns early in the straight but said Jukebox delivered late.
“They’ve been patient with him,” Williams said.
“He’s had that setback throughout the autumn and he’s come back bigger and stronger.
“Today was the first time he had to be a real tough, seasoned horse and I thought he lived up to his ability and the respect the stable have for this horse.”